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Corus - Past, Present and Future



Corus worker, Frank Harrison

The Steelworker's story - talking in December 2009

Reaction has been swift to the news that steelmaking on Teesside will end on Friday 19 February.

Corus announced that the partial mothballing of the Lackenby plant is starting, which means that around 1600 people will lose their jobs.

Despite news the unions have vowed to continue fighting.

Multi-union rep Geoff Waterfield told BBC Tees:

Corus plant

" Wherever we go, we continue to fight all the way through, and miracles can happen.

"But it's not a miracle I want, I want somebody with a bit of common sense that actually sees them works for what they are, a very very good investment.

"Not only is it going to make profit for whoever owns that company, but it's going to make sure a community and a region survive"

The MP for Redcar Vera Baird says that although it's a hard and horrible day, she does not accept that it's the end of steel making on Teesside.

The search for a buyer for the plant is still ongoing and she says that mothballing doesn't make the discussions about a sale any weaker.

The leader of Redcar and Cleveland Council, George Dunning, says he's heartbroken by the news.

Mr Dunning says he doesn't understand why a buyer hasn't come forward, and that the main priority is to find work for 1600 people.

Your thoughts

It is an absolute disgrace what has happened here on Teesside, my dad worked in the steel industry for a long period of his working life and would be appalled at what has gone on here. The government could and should of done more, but it was a case of too little, too late as usual.

My heart goes out to all the Corus workers and their families at this sad and difficult time. I truly hope that some good can come out of this mess.
Louise Liversidge, Billingham

A point which doesn't seem to have been made much of, and which helps explain the government's apparent lack of will to support steelmaking in Redcar, is the effect on the UK's carbon footprint.
Philip Smith, North Yorkshire

I am so sad about today's news about the last blast furnace in the North East. I am originally from Redcar, moved away in 1994 and i'm sure a lot of people will have to leave the area now because there's nothing left that was what was keeping the people of Teesside going.
Simon Welsh, Scotland

My heart goes out to everyone at Corus on this sad, miserable, bleak day, a day us Teessiders wont forget, unbelievable.
Wendy, Middlesbrough

Why should the government help the Corus workers find alternative employment? Aren't these people capable of finding work themselves?

And before you all start moaning at me let me tell you a bit about myself, I use to have a business myself until two years ago when it went bust, did I get any government help, NO, Did I get help getting re-trained for employment, NO, Did I get treated like a dog when I went to sign on, YES, Am I a skilled worker, NO, Do I have a family and mortgage, YES, Do I have to go to work for £6 per hour and struggle to pay my mortgage, YES, Will I be getting a share of the £60 million handout to help the corus workers, NO.

All the people I know who work down corus are bragging about getting £100k plus pay off, if that's the case then I will swap jobs with them TODAY. Its time for a reality check here I think, this is the real world, the reality of Teesside, no decent paid jobs at all, join the rest of all us low paid unskilled workers and get a life.
Colin, Middlesbrough

What a joke! Surely it makes more sense for the government to buy the plant on the cheap and keep producing steel and keep these people in work rather than them all claiming benefits?

There will be no more jobs created in the area so Gordon Brown is again causing more people to rely on hand outs! How can we nationalise Northern Rock and support the banks yet not nationalise the Corus plant?
Dean, Stockton

Yet again a government fails to intervene, economically it makes sense to subsidise the industry but more importantly socially to avoid a vacuum of despair and hopelessness the government SHOULD help, maybe they have a grand plan to train 1600 men to be call centre workers and use steel house as a call centre?
Colin Baldam, Middlesbrough

My heart goes out to all Teessiders. My dad worked all his life in the steel industry . You can all be very proud of your place in world history 150 years producing the best quality steel. It's heartbreaking.
Maureen Daly, Italy

Stabbed in the back by Labour, then when the Conservatives get in they will just put in the boot. When will the British wake up and get the 'ruling class' parasites off our backs. Briton has been well and truly sold out.
Mark, London

I work for Corus TCP and despite what Mr Mandelson says this is not a mothballing because it would take a minimum of six month's and many hundreds of millions of pounds to bring this plant back on line as it has had very little maintenance for the past 18 months.
Anon, Redcar

This is a very sad day.

We should be under no illusions, this plant, once "mothballed" will NEVER re-open again. It will de devastating for the entire area and be a weakness in Britain's construction & manufacturing industries for years to come to have to be dependent upon inferior, foreign steel imported from the Far East.

The Government should have stepped in and bought the plant and stock-piled the steel until markets picked up. In the longer term it would pay dividends and save all the unemployment & devastation. Shame on Gordon Brown & his cronies! Mo Mowlem would NEVER have stood by and allowed this to happen.
Mark Smythe, Darlington

What a mess !

It's hard not to come to the conclusion that the Redcar workforce has been left to rot now that the really major decision making is being made so far away from Teesside. Most of those taking decisions about the plant would be hard pressed to point to it on a map!

I can't help but sympathise with the view that if the Redcar works had been a London based bank the government would have put in a lot more effort to save it

I was a student on Teesside in the early '80's and had a girlfriend in the 'boro. She in turn had an aunt who we used to visit in Redcar and I have vivid memories of taking the train to Redcar and passing the glowering monster that was the steel plant. Quite a sight in the eyes of a country lad like me. Good luck and God bless all!
Eugene Morice, Cornwall

Capitalist greed has no regard for people's traditional lives and local history.

Middlesbrough was built on steel. It's irresponsible to throw away one hundred and fifty years of experience because a contract has fallen through. Why not nationalise Corus (British Steel) until a buyer can be found, just as Northern Rock was effectively nationalised until buyers could be found, notably Virgin?
John McCue, Stockton-on-Tees

I have worked in Corus for 37 years and think the government should have stepped in in May, June & July time offered voluntary redundancies and then relined and renovated all the plants left using it as a training ground for under 25s.

Anyone who thinks labour represents the steel worker is wrong they are attacking pension rights and ignoring the working class
George Bainbridge, Hartlepool

Nobody has answered any questions. Why did talks breakdown, who with? What has government offered?

Historically Teesside has been the most profitable plant in Britain, put most money into the coffers, now we are on the scrap heap whilst Tata announce MASSIVE profits, manufacturing in Britain no longer is fashionable, we now have become a service centre.
Michael, Middlesbrough

It's criminal that our major industries have been hung out to dry by the Labour Government.

The only reason Mr Brown is allowing the closure of Corus at Redcar, is because it is heavy industry and therefore, it doesn't help his global environmental pledge in reducing emissions to some ridiculous figure.

Fact is that the Government is only driving these industries abroad to other countries who care less about the global environment. But Mr Brown will look even better when they look dirty, and his goal as 'guardian of the environment' will look complete!
John Sutre, Port Talbot

Well what an absolute sham!!

The government sent millions to countries who have had devastation hit. TRY looking after your own country first.

No wonder this country is in the state it is!!! My boyfriend works at Corus, I have told him don't worry it wont shut, just to gee him up. Now look! We have a baby due in May. The UK makes me sick.
Lisa Murray, Middlesbrough

Why is the Steel closure not on the national BBC news?

Why is the Ray Mallon / Peter Mandelson problem not on as well? This story should be headlined with pictures of the Sydney Harbour Bridge and stories about the origins of the world's railway system.
Alan Jones, Guisborough

Same old, show the rest of the world how to make or produce the BEST in the world, then sit back and wait for them to catch up, then come and buy your firm and put you out of business, and do it cheaper and make more profit due to lower costs (labour etc).

Its about time we put the Great back in to Great Britain. Why not start a Buy British campaign like we had in the 1960s.
Andrew, Redcar

This news was not unexpected, Corus/Tata never had intentions of keeping this site open no matter what was put forward, the decision to close Redcar I believe was made at the top level of Corus/Tata as soon as the consortium pulled the plug on the deal.

Although the government could have may be offered or done more to be honest I don't think anything short of the government actually buying the site and re-nationalising it could have saved the place.

It's as sad fact that the industry that this area was built on is now lost forever, along with all of the jobs both directly affected and those indirectly affected

And the reason its not on the national news is because its happening in the North East if this was happening in the South East then it would have been all over the national news.
Cliff Cook, Middlesbrough

If Corus was called 'Corus Bank' would things have been different?

Millions pumped into RBS to stop it going under. This is university educated Londoners who don't give a toss about what happens north of the Watford gap.
Michael, Middlesbrough

If the government can find the money to bail out the banks why can't it temporarily nationalise steel until a buyer can be found.

They spend millions on foreign aid but seem unable to look after our own.

I can't believe a Labour government is allowing hundreds of working class jobs to go to the wall.

That's what the Tories did in the eighties remember Consett and the mines, communities never recover.
Sid Thompson

I truly feel for the people of Teesside and the soon to be out of work employees of the Corus plant.

But I don't agree that this has been ignored by the national news. Four generations of my family have, and still do work at the Scunthorpe plant, and to me it seems that any mention of Corus is followed instantly by Teesside.

If this was Port Talbot being mothballed it would be hailed as the last breath of steel making in Wales. But if this was Scunthorpe, I doubt anyone would really care at all.

It must be remembered thought that this isn't the end of British Steel as we know it completely. Some work is being moved from Teesside to the remaining plants in Port Talbot, Scunthorpe and the other smaller centres in the UK.

Lets not sour the last days of Teesside, but celebrate all its past achievements. Even if some bits of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, Wembley and the UK's railways are stamped with the names of some other plants too!
John, Scunthorpe

I'm so sorry to hear this its a shame the government doesn't cherish industry like it does the banks just remember this come polling day but please don't forget Maggie did the same thing to the miners.

I wish all the Corus workers all the best.
Alan, Motherwell

It was inevitable. Tata now have Redcar's Carbon Credits and will use these to justify building another steel centre in India. This government have stood by and let it happen.

The EU seem to be unimpressed and have offered no help that we know of. Planned?

So we now have an end to steel on Teesside, a region of chronic unemployment and what do our government do? They give us £60m to help us recover.

How will they achieve this? Retraining. The big question around here is - for what? THERE ARE NO JOBS. Examples - local cafe asks for counter assistant - 170 applicants in 24 hours(!) - 10% of shops in High Street boarded up and 3 more to close soon!
Ed, Redcar

If you need just one example of all that is wrong with modern Britain, this is it.

Some companies welch on their contract and force lots of people out of work. Does anybody in power care? No. Bit by bit, everything that gave Britain the ability to stand on its own two feet is going.

But that's not all. For far too long, Teesside and other industrial regions put all its eggs in one basket. Nothing lasts forever and while some areas have tried, with some success, to move with the times, Teesside unfortunately hasn't done so well.

We should have seen the local authorities reshaping the region 20 years ago. Why would big business choose to come to Teesside?

It smells, the transport links have never changed in my lifetime and just aren't sufficient, and the regions many good assets are just not promoted well enough at all.
Anthony, Sheffield / Redcar

Steel, chocolate - it's all the same.

People lose jobs and without jobs they can't pay tax and if they can't pay tax, there's less money for government spending and they'll start cutting funding from Education and Health... Of course as long as the bankers get their bonuses that's fine!

What about giving people a decent living and saving jobs instead of face? What happened to socialism at its best? What happened to Labour? Ah yes - it got NEW.
Oonah, Morpeth

Your comments on BBC Tees, 95FM

If this was happening in any other country, France etc there would be riots and uproar. .
Steve Garrity

170 years down the drain, brown & co should hang they heads in shame. The great North/South divide again.
From a frustrated steelmaker

It's been bad management that's priced steel off the market big bosses overpaid
Ron, South Gare

Andrew, Redcar One north east? There are no jobs to train for worth having

Dari Taylor is correct in everything she says. Not blaming her. I do think that Mandelson has not done enough and hope people vent their feelings with him. I have applied for Question Time, hope he is on the panel on Thursday, he is in this area that day.
Anon

I am currently taking off the last of the steel till Friday on my crane! This is another classic case of a British industry being decapitated by a foreign company.

The government have a lot to answer for we make the best grade steel in the world and foreign companies want us out the game!
Graham

What has happened to "charity begins at home" instead of giving money to help foreign countries the government should be helping us i.e. Corus.
Heather, Whitby

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SEE ALSO
Corus: Consortium pulls out
24 Nov 09 |  People & Places

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